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Learning English on Instagram

Learning English online isn't easy, and your best options are generally actual online classes with real teachers, but Instagram does have some great ESL sites to help you improve your English! Here's a list of our favorite accounts. 

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What is a Free Demo Class, Anyway?

Free Demo Class

You may have seen this button on the Ginseng homepage and wondered, what is a "free demo"?  What happens if I click this button!? Is it really FREE? Are there any strings attached? What happens next? Well, let me see if I can help to answer your questions!

We think our classes are pretty great, but you can't know that this is true unless you try one out, right?! That is where a free demo class comes in. 

Demo is short for demonstration, which means we are showing you something. You might go for a demo, or a test drive, at a car dealership if you're thinking about buying a car, or you could get a free demo of a new computer software that your company is considering buying.

 A "demo class" at Ginseng is a short, 30 minute sample of an online class class. You get to meet one of our teachers, see some of our fancy materials, and check out the follow-up emails we'll send you. 

So, what happens when I actually click that button?

When you click on this button, you will need to fill out a short form and then I will get an alert from you. But wait, who am I?! Great question.

Sarah Hi!

My name is Sarah, and I work for Ginseng. It is my job to help you with pretty much anything that you need from our online English school! You can ask me anything you want about our school, and I will do my best to help you out!

When I receive your free demo request, I will e-mail you to set up a time to video chat 📹 to learn more about what you are looking for. We can talk on Skype, Google Hangouts, WeChat, WhatsApp, Facetime—you name it!

 

 

I'll ask you questions about yourself, like:

  • Where are you from? 
  • How long you've been studying English?
  • Why is learning English important to you?
  • What part of English do you want to study the most? 
  • What time is good for you to have classes?

(It's ok if you don't know, or even if you just want to study EVERYTHING!)

It is up to you to choose what you want your free class to be about. It can be focused on just about anything English, such as pronunciation, grammar, writing and conversation! We will also talk about what times are good for your free class.

After we speak, I will talk to our team here at Ginseng and find you the best online English teacher for your educational goals, and your availability.

But wait, is it really free?

Yes!  Your 30 minute demo class is completely free. If you like what you see, we would love for you to share Ginseng English with your friends, and maybe even sign up for a class or two!

Ok, Now you've got me curious...

Great! So, take a moment to click the "request demo" button and fill out the form.  Soon, you'll be hearing from me! Who knows, we might even become friends! 

👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽

3 Steps to Studying with Ginseng

Studying with Ginseng is easy! Click the FREE DEMO CLASS button to request your demo. Then you will get an email from one of our staff to schedule your class. Then just log in and meet your teacher!

Request Demo Class Meet Ginseng Teacher Schedule First Class!
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If have any questions about Ginseng, e-mail me at sarah@ginse.ng

My name is Sarah and I have 8 years of experience working with international students studying in the United States, most recently at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I share your passion for adventure, and am currently traveling through Asia as part of the Ginseng English Anywhere tour! 

 

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Describing People in English

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Describing People in English

In this post we introduce over 40 vocabulary words for describing people in English, along with 6 sentence frames to use them in. The first three sentence frames are basic (level A1). The other three are a little more advanced (level A2-B1). All of the vocabulary is basic (levels A1 to A2). (If you don't know what A1 and A2 and B1 and B2 mean, learn about the CEFR!)

Note: Reading this article in English will be difficult for A1 and A2 students. We will soon translate this article into many different languages!


What is a Sentence Frame?

Sentence frames are a really useful way to learn how we speak English. A sentence frame is a sentence with an empty slot that many different words can go in for many different situations. For example, if you learn the sentence frame I feel [ADJECTIVE], you can make hundreds of different sentences. All you need to do is learn a new adjective that fits in that slot: I feel hungry. I feel tired. I feel angry. I feel sick. At a basic level, sentence frames are a great way to learn English!


Frame #1 - Basic Sentences for Describing People

The first three sentence frames we will look at are simple sentences. One of the most common ways to describe people is with adjectives: tall, short, fat, skinny, pretty, handsome, ugly. To use these common adjectives in a sentence, try this frame:

The man is [ADJECTIVE].

The man is tall. The man is fat. The man is ugly. The man is in shape. These are all good sentences in English. 

It is important to know that The man is another slot that you can change. The woman is tall. My friend is tall. My dad is tall. Jane is tall. She is tall. You can put any person in that slot.

Now let’s take a look at some adjectives describing people that can fit into this slot:

Adjectives to Describe People in English
Word Pronunciation Definition
tall /tɔl/ greater in height than the average person; not short
short /ʃɔrt/ lesser in height than the average person; not tall
thin /θɪn/ not having lots of extra flesh; not fat
fat /fæt/ having lots of extra flesh; not thin
old /oʊld/ having lived many years; not young
young /jʌŋ/ not having lived many years; not old
in shape /ɪn ʃeɪp/ healthy and physically strong
out of shape /aʊt ʌv ʃeɪp/ not healthy or physically strong
beautiful /ˈbjutəfəl/ attractive; good looking (mainly for females)
ugly /ˈʌgli/ not attractive; not good looking
handsome /ˈhænsəm/ attractive; good-looking (usually for males)
bald /bɔld/ not having hair on the top of the head

 Frame #2 - Basic Sentences Describing Features

The next basic sentence frame for describing people in English focuses on a specific feature: glasses, curly hair, black hair, blue eyes, a mustache, a ponytail. To talk about a person’s features, use this sentence:

The woman has [FEATURE].

With this sentence frame, you can make lots of different sentences:The woman has curly hair. The woman has glasses. The woman has long hair. The woman has a ponytail.

Again, you can change the person slot as well: The man has long hair. My friend has long hair. My sister has long hair. Clara has long hair.

Here are some features (nouns or nouns with adjectives) that can fit into this sentence frame:


Frame #3 - Basic Sentences Describing Clothes

The last sentence we will talk about for describing people focuses on clothes. Who doesn’t love clothes!? Black shoes! Gray pants! Blue ties! Green skirts! But let’s make complete sentences with them. Here is the sentence frame:

The woman is wearing [CLOTHES].

And here is a list of clothes that can go into this sentence:

All of these clothing items can be used with color words to be even more descriptive. The woman is wearing black shoes. The man is wearing a yellow tie.


So, those three sentence frames, combined with this vocabulary, allow you to make hundreds of different sentences to describe people. If you are a beginner, and this is mostly new information for you, you can stop here.

But, if you know most of this stuff, and you want to learn some more advanced English sentences, read on!

 

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Complex Sentence Frames Describing People

The first three frames talked about nouns, features, and clothes, in that order, right? The next three frames will be used to talk about the same three things, but in a more complex way. All of the same vocabulary from the sections above can be used with the next three frames, in the same order. 

In the first three sentence frames, the main idea of each sentence was describing people. The sentences were about describing people. The thing that I want to tell you about the man is that he is tall. But sometimes we want to describe people in a sentence about something else, and the description is not the most important idea in the sentence. For example, maybe I want to tell you that the man is my neighbor, but I also want to mention that he is tall. These next sentence frames will help in situations like that. 


Frame #4 - Adjectives Before Nouns

Let’s use that example. The I want to tell you that the man is my neighbor, and I also want to describe him as tall. I can put the adjective before the noun: The tall man is my neighbor. You can also put any of the other adjectives from above into that slot.

The [ADJECTIVE] man is my neighbor.

The handsome man is my neighbor. The old man is my neighbor. The fat man is my neighbor. And again, the end of the sentence (which we call the predicate) is a slot, too, and you can put different verbs in there: The tall man likes football. The tall man is eating. The tall man has a car.


Frame #5 - Features and With

If you want to talk about someone’s features in that same sentence, we need to use the preposition with. We could say The man with glasses is my neighbor. Any of the other features can go into that same slot:

The man with [FEATURE] is my neighbor.

The man with red hair is my neighbor. The man with a mustache is my neighbor.


Frame #6 - Clothing and in 

When we want to talk about clothes, we need another preposition. Instead of with, we use in. The man in the blue shirt is my neighbor. Any of the clothing vocabulary above can go into that same slot:

The man in [CLOTHES] is my neighbor.

The man in the tie is my neighbor. The man in the grey pants is my neighbor. The woman in the red hat is my neighbor.


Wrap-Up

That's it! Study these six sentence frames and the vocabulary, and you can now make hundreds of new sentences to describe people! Check back soon and we'll have a quiz to check what you have learned!

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Rob Sheppard is the founder and Chief Executive Teacher at Ginseng. Over the past ten years, he has taught English in Taiwan, South Korea, and his hometown of Boston. Now he teaches online at Ginseng while traveling the world.

You can email Rob at rob@ginse.ng.


More free English Vocabulary Resources

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The Most Common English Adjectives

Are you wondering where to start studying English vocabulary? Adjectives are a really important part of speech. An adjective is a word used to describe a noun.

It is a good idea to focus on the most common ones in the language. Below are lists of the 50 most common words in both American and British English.

50 Most Common Adjectives
🇺🇸 in American English 🇺🇸
No. Adjective
1 OTHER
2 NEW
3 GOOD
4 AMERICAN
5 GREAT
6 BIG
7 HIGH
8 OLD
9 DIFFERENT
10 NATIONAL
11 SMALL
12 LITTLE
13 BLACK
14 IMPORTANT
15 POLITICAL
16 SOCIAL
17 LONG
18 YOUNG
19 RIGHT
20 BEST
21 REAL
22 WHITE
23 PUBLIC
24 SURE
25 ONLY
26 LARGE
27 ABLE
28 HUMAN
29 LOCAL
30 EARLY
31 BAD
32 BETTER
33 ECONOMIC
34 FREE
35 POSSIBLE
36 WHOLE
37 MAJOR
38 MILITARY
39 FEDERAL
40 INTERNATIONAL
41 TRUE
42 FULL
43 HARD
44 SPECIAL
45 RECENT
46 RED
47 OPEN
48 PERSONAL
49 GENERAL
50 CLEAR
50 Most Common Adjectives
🇬🇧 in British English 🇬🇧
No.Adjective
1 OTHER
2 NEW
3 GOOD
4 OLD
5 DIFFERENT
6 LOCAL
7 GREAT
8 SMALL
9 SOCIAL
10 IMPORTANT
11 NATIONAL
12 HIGH
13 BRITISH
14 POSSIBLE
15 LARGE
16 RIGHT
17 LONG
18 LITTLE
19 YOUNG
20 POLITICAL
21 ABLE
22 GENERAL
23 ONLY
24 PUBLIC
25 AVAILABLE
26 FULL
27 EARLY
28 BEST
29 BIG
30 MAIN
31 MAJOR
32 ECONOMIC
33 SURE
34 REAL
35 LIKELY
36 BLACK
37 PARTICULAR
38 INTERNATIONAL
39 SPECIAL
40 DIFFICULT
41 CERTAIN
42 CLEAR
43 WHOLE
44 FURTHER
45 WHITE
46 OPEN
47 EUROPEAN
48 FREE
49 CENTRAL
50 SIMILAR

Most of the most common adjectives are the same in the US and the UK (78% of the top 50 and 92% of the top 25 words appear in both lists). Notice that American is the 4th most common adjective in American English and British is the 13th most common adjective in British English. We shouldn't read too much into these simple lists, but it is interesting to note that militaryfederal, and personal all appear in the American list. Do you notice any other patterns?

That's all for now! Start studying!

If you're looking for something similar, check out the most common verbs in English.


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Parts of a Laptop

English Vocabulary - Parts of a Laptop

Today lets learn English words to talk about parts of a laptop. As you may know, a laptop is a computer you can close like a book and take with you. Larger computers that you cannot take with you are called desktops, because they sit on top of a desk. A laptop sits on top of your lap (your lap is the upper part of your legs, which is horizontal when you sit!

The part of the laptop that you look at is called the display. Display is also a verb: your computer displays pictures, videos, and websites. Some people call this a screen, too. Screen is a more general word—your TV has a screen, there is a screen at the movies—but display is better for computers. On most laptops, there is an area around the display that doesn't show pictures, like a frame. We call this the bezel. In the middle of the bezel, above the display, you probably have a webcam: a camera that you can use on the web.

The part of the laptop with the letters is called the keyboard. A board is a flat surface, and this board is covered with buttons called keys; that's why we say keyboard! In front of the keyboard is a touchpad, which you can touch to move your cursor (the arrow on your computer screen).

On the sides of the laptop (not shown in this picture) you may have many different ports to plug in your power cord, headphones, or a USB cord.

More free English resources 

Parts of a Laptop Computer

Parts of a Laptop Computer

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Parts of a Bike

English Vocabulary - Parts of a Bike

As you probably know, bike is a common short word for bicycle in English. Let's build our bicycle vocabulary by learning English names for parts of a bike!

The place where you sit is the seat, just like at the movies or in a car. You put your hands on the handlebars. Notice that this word is a combination of two other useful words: handle (something you hold in your hand) and bar (a long straight piece of metal). You put your feet on the two pedals.  

The word bicycle actually means two (bi-) wheels (cycle). The rubber part of the wheel that touches the ground is called the tire. The thin metal pieces that connect to the middle of the wheel are called spokes.

The pedals connect to the rear wheel with a chain and many different circular gears. All of this is held together on a metal frame, the red part in this picture.

More free English vocabulary resources

Take a look at the different parts of a bike in English!

Take a look at the different parts of a bike in English!

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Parts of a Shoe

English Vocabulary - Parts of a Shoe

Next up in our Ginseng English series Parts of a... is shoes! Do you know the names for the parts of your shoes? Read on and you soon will!

Three parts of a shoe actually have the same names as parts of your body. The toe is the part of the shoe where your toes are. The heel is the part of the shoe where your heel (the back of your foot) goes. The third one is a little less expected. The part on top that comes from the inside is called the tongue! Your foot doesn't have a tongue of course, but this part of the shoe looks a little like a tongue! 👅

On top of the tongue, the strings that you tie together are called the laces. Finally, the part on the bottom that touches the ground is called the sole of the shoe.

Other free English vocabulary resources

English Vocabulary - Parts of a Shoe

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Parts of a House

Across the world, everyone has some kind of home, though they all look very different! This post will describe the parts of a typical American house.

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Parts of a Car

Basic English Vocabulary - Parts of a Car

Welcome to the first post in a new series on basic vocabulary from the Ginseng English Blog: Parts of a... Today, let's look at some useful vocabulary for the outside of a car!

On a car there are four tires, two front tires and two rear tires. Front and rear are useful words when we talk about cars. A car has two bumpers to protect you in an accident: a front bumper and a rear bumper. Above the bumpers are lights. There are headlights at the front of the car, and taillights at the rear of the car. On each side of the car is a side-view mirror, to help you see behind you. Inside the car is a rear-view mirror, too.

What other car vocabulary do you know? What do you want to know? Comment below!

More free online English posts

English Vocabulary - Parts of a Car

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English for Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costume Trends

I recently came across this great infographic over at the W5 blog, called Spooktacular Halloween Costumes (notice that spooktacular is just a fun portmanteau of spooky and spectacular—more on portmanteaus in this blog post). 

This seems like a great opportunity to talk about how we talk about costumes in English, which can be a little tricky. If you're talking to an American friend about an upcoming Halloween party, she might ask you:

What are you going as?

What am I going as? Going as?

It may sound like a strange question, but your friend is asking you what your costume will be, or what you will be pretending to be for halloween. Another way to say this is:

What are you dressing up as?

You could answer with:

  • I'm going as a ghost.
  • I'm going as a dog.
  • I'm going as Wonder Woman.
  • I'm going as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones.

Notice that if you are going as something generic (not a single, specific character), we use an indefinite article—a ghost, a cat, an elephant—but for specific characters, we don't need an article.

One more thing: if you're a character from a movie or TV show, it's common to add from [the movie]:

  • I'm going as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. 
  • She's going as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.
  • He went as Wolverine from X-Men.

So, what are YOU going as for Halloween!?

 

 

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Basic Geometry Vocabulary

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Basic Geometry Vocabulary

Basic geometry vocabulary

Rob from Ginseng English recently took a trip to Shanghai and recorded a lesson on geograph—err, geometry vocabulary. Take a moment and have a look!

Geometry Vocabulary List

Vertical (adj.) - positioned up and down rather than from side to side; going straight up

Horizontal (adj.) - positioned from side to side rather than up and down; parallel to the ground

Diagonal (adj.) - not going straight across or up and down

Beam (n.) - a long and heavy piece of wood or metal that is used as a support in a building

Post (n.) - a piece of wood or metal that is set in a vertical position, especially as a support or marker

Narrow (adj.) - long and not wide

Wide (adj.) - extending a great distance from one side to the other; not narrow

Free Vocabulary Resources

If you're trying to improve your English vocabulary online, check out these other free vocabulary resources from the Ginseng English Blog:
 

 

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